It’s early to mid-September and the “risk of frost” warnings are threatening. What’s a gardener to do…
- play the odds and take a chance that it won’t actually happen?
- play it safe and throw covers on anything requiring a little protection?
- put an end to this year’s garden and take in all your produce?
Let’s face it, the end of our prairie gardens is near. Some of our herbs, veggies and flowers won’t make it past the first frost while others will last until there’s a foot of snow on the ground. Frost or no frost, many of our favorites like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, etc will stop growing when temperatures stay cooler than 10°C (50°F). And if it’s also wet and cloudy with very little sunlight, ripening conditions get worse. At that point, even frost tolerant plants like onions can start going funky (onions will rot in wet, cool soil and if they can’t dry properly).
It’s time to strategize and plan your harvest accordingly. Start harvesting the most sensitive plants first, gather your sheets and blankies for covering those veggies you want to keep a little longer, dust off the canner and make some room in the garage, freezer and pantry for all those veggies!
I started by harvesting all of our basil, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. I also brought in any tomatoes that showed a hint of orange, the rest I’ll keep out as long as I can and cover if necessary. My next step is drying the basil, making more zucchini loaf and snacking on tzatziki.
What veggie, herb or flower will you fight to protect?
Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.